Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Springtime On The Terrace

Spring has arrived and here at HFTS that means bringing out the MacKenzie-Childs dishes in the Taylor Series and dining alfresco out on the terrace. MacKenzie-Childs' web site notes that these dishes "mix and match in playful harmony." It was exactly that characteristic which drew me to these fanciful dishes in the 1980s.

Stack of Salad Plates in Wallcourt Collection Await Dessert

Pastel colors, fanciful patterns, ruffled edges, flat edges, polka dots, checks ~ The Taylor Series and the Wallcourt Collection mix it all up for delightful springtime dining.

A recent Heritage Society Home Tour brought a group of friends together here at HFTS. We enjoyed a light brunch of fresh fruit, spinach quiche, and mini sweet rolls out on the terrace before visiting the historical properties on tour. I had planned to share the brunch setting last week for Tablescape Thursday, but when I attempted to upload the photos, there was an error message. No photos uploaded, and all the photos had been erased on my camera card. The above photo, taken by a friend, is all I have to share from the brunch.

This week offered more perfect spring weather for alfresco dining, so a group of girlfriends came over Monday to enjoy a light meal and evening of conversation outdoors.

The ruffled dinner plates from MacKenzie-Childs' Taylor Series are each so full of pattern and color, that I kept added details to a minimum.

Pastel plaid tablecloth, Ambiance Vintage Garden white chargers, and vintage flatware were all that was needed to set the stage for the mix of patterns on the table.

Bearded Iris pattern "remembers the bright yellow
beards in botanical drawings of Richard's iris garden."

Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs founded the company in 1983. MacKenzie-Childs was purchased by Pleasant Rowland in 2001, and has since been sold to Twin Lakes Capital.

Aalsmeer pattern is named for the place "where
Victoria's sister and family lived in the Netherlands."
It represents the Dutch colors and boxes of tulips.

The Taylor Series was the original dinnerware collection of MacKenzie-Childs. It was "designed to be mixed at random like a happy ceramic bouquet."

King Ferry pattern "is a grid of fields and flowers
and sky and homestead to the MacKenzie-Childs family life."

These contemporary Majolica plates come in this ruffled edge or with a flat rim. Each is hand formed from red clay and painted by artisans in fanciful designs of the same color palette.

Myrtle pattern is named for a "Belfast lass who
wears a floral apron just like Milly Molly Mandy's aunt."

I liked the idea of mixing it up with different patterns, so when I first saw them in a local store in the 1980s, I decided to purchase a plate or two at a time, each in a different pattern.

Madison pattern for the "Indiana, smokestack,
riverboat, 4H, farmtown on the Mason-Dixon line where Victoria
finished growing up with Southern belles and pet pigs."

Some of the patterns are now retired, but MacKenzie-Childs continues to add new patterns and on occasion will bring a pattern out of retirement.

Monet pattern "honors Giverny's dining room dressed
in delphinium blue and yellow beyond the trellised gardens."

Over the years I've limited my selections to dinner plates and special serving pieces. I appreciate that they are each hand crafted and made by artisans in Aurora, NY. There is no doubt that I will ever tire of the charming designs and beautiful colors of these ceramics.

For a simple centerpiece I used potted spring annuals popped in a whimsical tin vase encircled with carrots.

Hand painted napkins in pinks and greens

are tucked into the handles of petite bunny creamers.

My friend Mary @ Home is Where the Boat Is was the inspiration for this idea. I had planned to use the bunny creamers filled with flowers at each place setting, but when I saw Mary's idea of using a mug filled with flowers as a napkin ring, I knew these would serve the same purpose.

If you missed seeing Mary's 

gorgeous Tulip d'Or table click here.

Each little creamer went home 

with a guest for the evening's party favor.

A yellow Kalanchoe plant offered the

perfect little bouquets with which to fill each creamer.

A simple light salad of fresh cucumbers and tomatoes was served in an Odd Fellows footed compote. The Odd Fellows pattern is "a medley of patterns patched together."

Parmesan crisp in a Keukenhof pattern

fluted bowl offered a little crunch to the meal.

Napa Rolls offered a rabbit friendly light entree for the spring evening. The large platter in the Bearded Iris pattern was a lucky thrift shop find a few years ago.

Filled with Napa cabbage, chicken, julienned carrots, and a blend of mint, basil, cilantro, and scallions, the Napa rolls were a big hit.

Sauces of spicy peanut and hot sriracha, here on a small oval platter in the Odd Fellows pattern, gave the Napa rolls an added tasty kick.

For dessert ~ carrot cake cupcakes, of course!

The cute carrot cupcake toppers

were purchased from World Market.

Iced pretzels offered 

a sweet/salty taste.

A special thank you to Jenn @ MacKenzie-Childs

direct service for help with 

specific descriptions for the pattern names.

Current patterns can be viewed here @ MacKenzie-Childs

Please help yourself to a scoop of citrus jelly beans

before heading off to visit others at the following parties this week.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Oh Sarah, I just strolled through your Post in "AWWW". You are SO LUCKY to have all that GORGEOUS MacKenzie-Childs... I am still working on getting one little trinket, hehe! I do have the catalog and have started a "Very Wishful List"! I LOVE the pastel tablecloth under these colorful beauties. It's PERFECT...AND...The way you used those little bunny creamers is inspirational. I must seek some out! TOO CUTE!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing...
    Guess What? My forsythias are in FULL BLOOM!!! So now I have color!!!
    Happy Easter Week to you,

  2. Sarah, I enjoyed your MacKenzie-Childs post a lot. I liked the King's Ferry especially. That footed bowl you had your salad is really something special. I enjoyed the meal vicariously. The Napa rolls, which I have never made look delicious. What is the red sauce next to the peanut? How do you make Parmesan crisps. You know how to make a nice springy meal. Joni

  3. What a delightful gathering, Sarah! Bummer on losing your photos but the ones you've taken at home are beautiful.
    All those different plates are so playful & happy looking good friends!

    I didn't know any of that about the MacKenzie-Childs company. Thanks for the lesson...always the teacher, still.

    Bunny Hugs,

  4. Oh Sarah...what a wonderful collection of MacKenzie-Childs you have! I've always admired these fanciful & festive patterned plates~ they are so delightful to look at and make a beautiful table together on your pastel plaid cloth! Your bunny creamers/napkin holders are ADORABLE with their little bouquets they are sprouting!
    What a cheery table~ Happy Easter to you & thanks for the jelly beans :-)

  5. Wow, what a great time Sarah! The setting is just beautiful and the food looks great! I'll remember the little creamer as a napkin/flower holder idea-too fun:@)

  6. Love those dishes! They bring whimsy to a whole other level. The table is fun and yet very elegant...and the food looks utterly scrumptious!

  7. I don't have any MacKenzie Childs so I absolutely learned a lot this evening. I can see why it was so popular. Your table is lovely and the food looks absolutely divine. Happy Easter and many blessings. Come visit, I've got another giveaway going on.

  8. Oh my goodness, this is fabulous! I love the dishes, so colorful, and you mixed them all so perfectly!
    Lunch looks delicious! What a wonderful treat for your friends.
    Have a very blessed Easter, Sarah!

  9. Oh, Sarah.....Don't you know that I am in heaven looking at this post! I love the tablecloth with the MacKenzie-Childs. I also like the vintage flatware! I don't have too many of the Oddfellows patterns yet, but I do like them. Can you guess my favorite pattern in the Taylor series? :D

    I'm sure I will be revisiting this post later this week.

    Ricki Jill

  10. Your MacKenzie-Childs tableware is a perfect fit for Easter. Oh, they are all so gorgeous!!!!
    And I love the idea of the creamer/vase/bunny napkin rings! No that is creative!
    Your food looks scrumptious and is even better in your MC dishes!!!!
    I am going to be back to take in all the detail again!
    Happy Easter!

  11. Sarah, what can I say except that your M/C dishes are just gorgeous!! I love each and every one of the different patterns and colors. Your serving pieces serve as a wonderful backdrop for that yummy looking food, too. Hope you have a Happy Easter celebration. :-)
    ~ Sue

  12. Hi Sarah! This is a wonderful post! I just smile seeing those precious MC dishes! Love all the ruffly dishes, sweet colors and patterns.
    The food looks great too.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  13. Your ruffly MacKenzie Childs dishes are awesome. So whimsical! I love them!...Christine

  14. It's a shame about the photos you lost but these did the trick. Your dishes are beautiful and I love all the colors together. Your dinner looked delicious and very healthy! I love you sugar scuttle. I've bid on a number of them on eBay and haven't been lucky yet!

  15. I'm sorry about the photos you've lost. That has happened to me, too. Fortunately, it has never happened in one of those "once in a life time" moments...yet.

    I love your McKenzie-Childs table, and now you have me very interested in the company. Just as you said, I love how they mix and match and are so colorful and unique.

    And the cup idea for a napkin ring is wonderful. I rarely miss a post of Marys but I don't recall that. I'm going back to read it to see what I missed or forgot.

    Love that. Love the table.
    I saw and smelled some hyacinths in the store yesterday. I thought of you!

  16. So fun and playful! Love the colors. And everything looks so yummy!

  17. What an array of beautiful MC dishes and they look so nice against that pretty tablecloth. The Napa rolls look delicious!

  18. Oh, I am gasping here, I love anything MacKenzie-Childs. I want your table, the dishes, accessories, oh, and will you send food as well?

  19. As you might know, I am a M-C lover, too. I only have a few pieces of the CC but would love to have some of the more colorful ones, too. My budget doesn't allow it, however, so I will continue to enjoy your beautiful collection.
    That food look so yummy.:)

  20. Sarah, I looked at your MacKenzie-Childs pieces so many times and tried to decide which pattern I liked best, but it was an impossible choice. I love them all! So much color and pattern and they are all so whimsical. I can't see anyone unhappy when using these pieces. Thanks for sharing them with all of us. And the food looks great, too.
    Hugs and Happy Easter,

  21. Oh those rolls and cupcakes are just to die for. Everything is just gorgeous!!

  22. Sarah, What a gorgeous tablescape and the dishes are fabulous! My daughter-in-law collects MC and I am forwarding her this post. Thank you for sharing your lovely table at my party.

  23. Oh Sarah, what a smart girl you were to collect these different MC patterned dishes through the years. All of them look so pretty and soooo happy mixed together. the little creamers, used as napkin rings/planters, are brilliant! I also love your tin planter with carrots around it. I am so sorry you lost your photos from the other party. What a terrible thing to have happen. I'm glad you'll be linking this beautiful post to Favorite Things. I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend. laurie

  24. Ooooohhh!!! It's all so pretty! I love all the pretty pastels, the pattern mixes...gorgeous! Looking at that bowl of fruit, however, now has me craving fruit. I don't think we have anything in the kitchen but a little snack pack can of that DelMonte mixed fruit which, quite frankly, is not my idea of a good time. I guess I'll have to hold on until morning. Have a fantastic Easter weekend!!!

  25. Those dishes are adorable Sarah...everything looks so the grassy green bunny cupcakes too! Easter blessings to you and yours :)

  26. Sarah:

    This is an amazing post. It's filled with your amazing collection and so much wonderful information. I hadn't realized that the Mackenzie-Childs company had been sold, let alone twice. It seems like produce such personable things that it would be owned by it's originators. You have quite the collection.

    I love the idea of using the little pitchers as napkin rings. It's neat how we spur ideas off of eachother's blogs.

    Of all the beauty in your post, I couldn't help but notice the little bunny spoons in the little sauce bowls. Where are they from?

    - The Tablescaper

  27. You have quite a nice collection of the M-C plates and they are all gorgeous! I love the whimsical flavor of your table. Your carrot pail centerpiece is adorable.

    I haven't been to Mary's yet (going there next) to see her cup/napkin holder, but I love what you did with the little creamer. That is just so cute!

    Your food looks and sounds fabulous. I'm sure everyone had the best time.

    Happy Easter,

  28. What delightful eye candy. Scrolling through the post makes one smile, feel young and ready for spring. M-K's patterns always remind of an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party. You have so many beautiful pieces and have displayed artfully.
    I am in love with the little bunny creamers. What a clever idea. I will have to keep that in mind.
    Thanks for sharing. Ginger :)

  29. You are so fortunate to own so many wonderful MC dishes. Lovely settings, beautiful presentation.

    May your Easter be filled with eggs-tra special blessings ~
    TTFN ~

  30. Mackenzie Childs just makes me smile. Your buffet and table filled with it is PERFECT for springtime!

  31. I have always LOVED MacKensie-Childs (& parmesan did you know)!?! Happy PS & have a glorious Easter.
    Licks & wags, Niki

  32. Awesome! I've enjoyed sooo much going thru your post and admiring your M.C.'s dishes and service pieces, just stunning, so whimsey and the designs are so sweet and pretty...I can appreciate this as we used to make hand decorated ceramics. The food looks amazing and served is such gorgeous things!
    Wish you and your a happy Easter.

  33. Oh yummmie, I came for Pink Saturday and enjoyed this post as well. Those Napa Rolls look delish! And your lovely holiday dinnerware in shades of pink and yellow and even plaids was a delight to behold. And wouldn't my senior mom love your beautiful gardening pictures. Definitely an enjoyable visit all around. Thank you :)

  34. Well now that was just a delicious little journey reading your blog today! Happy Easter!! xoxo Tami

  35. Sarah,
    What a beautiful set of dishes. I love the colors and the patterns. It all looks beautiful with the tablecloth and your accessories. Love the piece with the jelly beans in it. Have a lovely Easter! Thanks for linking it up!

  36. What beautiful dishes. You are so right about the mix and match. I don't know about these dishes but I will look them up now.

    Your dinner looks fab, too! Yum! I'm coming by for leftovers!

    Have a great Pink Saturday!

  37. So fabulous Sarah! If only I had a plane to "pop on over" for lunch..sigh!
    Love seeing all of your MC patterns. I'm sure your guest were awed and charmed by your cute take home bunnies. Just delightful!

  38. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  39. What a lovely table Sarah~ such pretty patterns and colors!! I don't have any MC pieces- but these are so sweet and charming- love them! Thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

  40. Mackenzie-Childs really is a special 'lifetime' collection. I collect the miniature s&p's and the Courtly Check. Always fun to use. Your luncheon is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your charming design. Cherry Kay


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